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Prime-Time Flicks

July 08, 1990|Kevin Thomas

With The World According to Garp (KCOP Sunday at 8 p.m.), writer Steve Tesich and director George Roy Hill try to hew to the heart of the sprawling, surreal John Irving novel, cherishing the fragility of life and illuminating the complicated existence of novelist T.S. Garp (a sweetly randy Robin Williams). However, the only person who seems more than a literary conceit is John Lithgow's dignified, poignant and funny transsexual who once played tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Murder by Natural Causes (KTTV Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a terrific 1979 made-for-TV thriller, written and produced by Richard Levinson and William Link, with Hal Holbrook and Katharine Ross starring.

Murder: By Reason of Insanity (KTTV Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is a solid 1985 TV movie, directed by Anthony Page and starring Candice Bergen as a wife battered by a mental patient husband (Jurgen Prochnow).

The Great Ice Rip-Off (KTTV Thursday at 8:30 p.m.) is niftyycaper comedy, a 1974 TV movie that pits Lee J. Cobb's retired cop against Gig Young's jewel thief.

In the 1987 Dolls (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.), Stuart Gordon, whose first two films were imaginative and bloody H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, is more whimsical and lighthearted in this knowing trapped-in-a-dark-mansion-in-a-hideous rainstorm genre piece.

Vincente Minnelli's 1952 The Bad and the Beautiful (KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m.) remains one of Hollywood's best commentaries on itself and is as memorable for its David Raksin score as it is for its stellar cast, headed by Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner. The KTLA telecast will be colorized.

In Le Bonheur, Agnes Varda's superb, uncompromising 1965 film (KCET Saturday at 10:35 p.m.), Varda asserts that only those who have the courage to follow their own natures and are willing to defy the artificial and stifling conventions of society can hope to achieve fulfillment in love. Jean-Claude Drouot stars.

As in "Psycho," Curtis Hanson's 1987 The Bedroom Window (KCOP Saturday at 8 p.m.), a pastiche about successively deeper layers of voyeurism, terror and guilt, takes us from adultery and deceit to murder and madness. It doesn't quite jell, but it's engrossing and has a fine cast headed by Steve Guttenberg, Isabelle Huppert and Elizabeth McGovern.

The 1975 Cousin, Cousine (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) remains one of the most popular foreign films, a pleasant fantasy in which cousins by marriage embark upon an affair without thought for their spouses, who are unsympathetic anyway.

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